As energy conservation and financial concerns continually intensify, demand for ways of reducing the costs and environmental impact of building operations has soared. The dramatic evolution of information technology has led to the development of systems that allow increasing control of our physical environment. A smart building is the integration of technology, building, and energy management systems to produce a complete IT based hardware and software solution that makes the building as efficient as possible. Smart buildings are the future of our building industry; eventually all commercial, residential, industrial and institutional buildings will be designed with smart building technology to achieve the highest degree of energy conservation and comfort.
The control technologies of smart buildings in South Florida allow integration, automation and optimization of all the services and equipment of buildings. Building automation systems combine the various control functions into a single integrated solution that coordinates the systems for maximum efficiency, user comfort, and cost reduction. The integrated systems and their functions include
- Lighting Control – uses time and zone controls to lower costs by shutting off lights when the building is empty; occupancy sensors indicate whether or not anybody is present and switch the lights on or off accordingly.
- HVAC Control – turns on and off the heating system according to designated schedules (time of day, week, etc.); makes sure the building maintains desired temperature during occupancy.
- Air Quality Control – monitors and eliminates unsafe levels of CO, CO2, and NO2 in buildings and parking garages; improves comfort by controlling humidity and eliminating unwanted odors.
Smart buildings also increase worker productivity and user comfort levels by providing enhanced safety, security and access control. The comprehensive system blankets a building in protection through the heightened functionality of
- Fire / Life Safety Systems – coordinates controls to contain and reduce emergencies
- Smoke Evacuation Systems – fan shutdown, smoke exhaust, purge and pressurization controls
- Elevator Security Control – controls elevator use and floor access via cards and readers
- Access Control – denies or permits the use of a specified resource by a specified entity
- Closed Circuit Television – employs network, fixed position, pan/tilt/zoom, and thermal imaging cameras to survey specified areas or entire building
- CCTV Recording Solutions – digital, network, and hybrid video recording solutions provide an economical alternative to having a security guard 24/7
Energy management systems are integral components of smart buildings. The concept behind energy management systems is simple – cut off energy use in areas that are not being used. 30% to 40% of commercial real estate is typically unused at any given time. By managing the lighting, cooling, and heating of areas based on actual use, smart buildings can reduce energy costs by up to 30%. While smart buildings are able to reduce energy usage substantially through scheduling, they also provide customized control that allows users to override settings from on-site or away from the premises via the internet or phone. Tenants can use an after-hour override system according to their usage needs; tracking software monitors extra usage so owners can bill the tenants according to their override activities. Smart buildings’ integrated systems management results in significant benefits for both owners and tenants:
- Optimal working environment
- Improved efficiency
- Increased security
- Reduction in energy usage and costs
- Decreased operational costs
Now that Advanced Control Corporation has answered the question, “What is a smart building,” we stand ready to help you with all your building automation and energy management needs. As the industry leader in building automation in South Florida, we have provided integrated building solutions for thousands of buildings of all sizes. Contact Advanced Control Corporation today at 954.491.6660 for a smart building solution of your own.